Here to Help: Keeping your key workers safe at work
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Government have asked us to work from home wherever possible, with only ‘key workers’ physically attending their workplace.
So, if your employees fall into the category of key workers, how should you be supporting them? We’ve put together a few items to consider…
Who is a key worker?
The government has published clear guidelines on its website of who is a key worker. This includes:
- Frontline health workers such as doctors and nurses
- Some teachers and social workers
- Workers in key public services including those essential to the justice system, religious staff, and public service journalists
- Local and national government workers deemed crucial to delivering essential public services
- Workers involved in food production processing, distribution, sale, and delivery
- Public safety workers including police, armed forces personnel, firefighters, and prison staff
- Essential air, water, road, and rail transport workers
- Utilities, communication, and financial services staff, including postal workers and waste disposal workers
How do I keep my key workers safe?
There a few simple yet effective ways to keep your key workers safe at work during this difficult time.
Public Health England recommend keeping a two-metre distance from others where possible. This may mean that you need to alter the facilities within your workplace – for example, moving desks further away from each other and setting up additional areas for breaks.
You should be making sure that your key workers have the facilities available for the following:
- Hand washing – experts say that one of the best ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Hand sanitising – hand sanitiser should also be available to keep hands clean
- Tissues – your employees should be using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes, and then binning the tissues immediately.
- Cleaning equipment – regularly touched surfaces should be disinfected frequently to help prevent the spread of the virus. Keep disinfectant wipes near your employees’ desks so they can do this.
- Protective clothing – where needed for work purposes, you should be issuing your employees with protective clothing such as face masks.
The Government says that work can still be carried out in people’s homes as long as the tradesperson has no symptoms and follows the Public Health England guidelines around keeping clean. But if a household is self-isolating, unless the work is an emergency (and the tradesperson is willing to do so) the work should be postponed.
Taking immediate action
If one of your employees becomes unwell in the workplace, you should send them home immediately to follow the Government’s guidance on self-isolating.
Your key workers may be worried about staying well while continuing to attend work, so it’s important to offer them as much support as possible. Reassure them that your organisation is keep up-to-date with the latest Government advice and following all guidance. Let them know who they can raise concerns with and encourage them to do so.
For more on the government’s guidance on keeping workers safe, take a look here